Market systems approaches, or Making Markets Work for the Poor (M4P) are approaches to poverty reduction that
donors such as DFID, Sida and SDC have been supporting over the past few years.
The central idea is that the poor are dependent on market systems for their livelihoods.
Therefore changing those market systems to work more effectively and sustainably
for the poor will improve their livelihoods and consequently reduce poverty.
"The last few years have seen an upsurge of interest in market development approaches
amongst aid agencies. Alongside M4P there is UNDP's Growing Inclusive Markets, the
IADB's Opportunities for the Majority and the IFC's Next Four Billion. Amongst businesses,
there is growing interest in social investment, sustainable business practices,
fair trade and engaging with the Base of the (Economic) Pyramid. Although terminology
and emphasis may differ, all of these approaches see a market-based economic engagement
with the poor as essential for sustainable development." (M4P
page provides a comprehensive introduction to a wide range of links and documents
relating to Making Markets Work - in most cases, explicitly for the Poor. The DCED also co-facilitated an M4P Peer Learning Event in May 2013. This focused on six themes: designing and implementing M4P strategies, negotiating deals, team structures and capacity building, managing for impact, working in thin markets, and working alongside direct approaches. The event report with programme perspectives on the six themes is available here.
A wide range of resources are also available on the BEAM Exchange website
(not to be confused with Finnish BEAM
This page contains useful information and resources on M4P under the following groupings:
Suggestions for additions to this page are welcome at any time.
Click here to contact the DCED Secretariat.
The M4P approach in context: How does it compare to other PSD approaches?
M4P, growth and poverty reduction
M4P Case Studies
Below you can find case studies and overviews of selected M4P programmes and projects.
For further programme- and project-specific information, please refer
Older programme summaries and case studies
Market approaches to social and basic service delivery
Several blog posts discuss the role of the private sector in the provision of basic
services – such as health, education and water supply. A common thread is
the argument that private providers already play a key role in providing poor people
with access to basic services, and that governments can make better use of this
opportunity through partnerships and appropriate policies towards private providers.
M4P in Education Programmes
M4P in Health Programmes
M4P in Water and Sanitation Programmes
M4P in Environment Programmes
M4P Programme Websites and other Useful Links
M4P Programme Websites
Images courtesy of africa/www.freedigitalphotos.net; djembe / 123RF Stock Photo; Katalyst; and africa/www.freedigitalphotos.net; Paul Prescott/ 123rf Stock Photo